The Pennington County Emergency Management was created in 1962 and formally known as Civil Defense. The city of Rapid City and Pennington County entered into an agreement to form a joint, local organization to provide emergency and disaster services in 1978. This is known as the joint powers agreement. It serves as the countywide agency for the purpose of overseeing the planning, response, recovery and mitigation of any and all major disasters/emergencies that occur within the county.

Mission Statement

  • To warn of impending danger
  • When required, support local response agencies with timely, effective deployment of resources
  • Through the public information process, keep affected residents informed about the situation and how they can protect themselves
  • Coordinate and direct restoration and recovery operations when local government resources are exhausted
  • Assess local needs and coordinate support from the State of South Dakota and the federal government as necessary and appropriate

Disasters, whether natural or man caused, have happened and will continue to occur in Pennington County. Emergency Management employs 4 basic strategies to minimize the effects of a disaster while maximizing the resiliency of the community.

  1. Preparedness is how we change behavior to “get ready” for the impact of emergency or disaster events for ourselves, our family, and our community.
    Preparedness is part of a continuous cycle of planning, training, equipping, exercising and taking corrective action. The end result is hopefully an increase in safety and improved coordination among response agencies during an incident. Human beings go through life thinking they are not at risk; people think “Even though bad things happen they are not going to happen to me.”
  2. Most people think of the response phase as trained and equipped emergency responders providing assistance, when in actuality, during a large scale disaster this can literally be any community member responding to help family members, neighbors or community. This phase is putting your preparedness into action. Effective communication is a key component in a response effort.
  3. Recovery begins immediately and almost simultaneously with the response effort, the goal being to do what it takes to get things back to “normal”. Sometimes “normal” is changing the way the things have been done before, as was the case in 1972 following the Flood.
  4. Mitigation efforts are changes made to lessen the aftermath of the crisis and prevent future disasters from having the same effect should they happen again.

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